3D mammography is now available at Virginia Gay Hospital. 3D mammography is another example of the partnership between the Virginia Gay medical community, the Virginia Gay Hospital Health Care Foundation, and the community of patients that continues to bring the very best in care close to home at Virginia Gay.

Donations to the Foundation’s 2017 Tree of Lights campaign helped pay for a portion of this new, more accurate breast cancer detection technology. The Virginia Gay Hospital Health Care Foundation is also making it easier to afford 3D mammography.

Gifts of Hope is a fund created to provide mammography services to women who do not have insurance coverage, or for whom a high deductible makes screening unaffordable. Now, Gifts of Hope will also pay the difference between standard 2D mammography and 3D screening if the patient’s insurance does not cover the cost of the 3D test.

Research has shown that 3D mammography in conjunction with standard 2D mammography, detects from 20% to 40% more cases of invasive breast cancer, while also reducing the need for additional testing by as much as 40%. The improved results from 3D mammography don’t result in radiation exposure above FDA limits, and by avoiding additional tests, the test may help limit lifetime exposure.

3D mammography requires only a few seconds more than standard mammography. The testing procedure is identical, except for the slight arc the imaging unit makes to gather the image. The powerful software then creates images of the breast tissue in millimeter-thick increments. The ability to view small segments of tissue and the ability to rotate 3D images allow radiologists to take a more accurate look inside the body.

The technology is especially useful for women with dense breast tissue because 2D mammograms of dense breasts are more difficult for the radiologist to interpret, and because cancer occurs more often in dense breasts. The determination of breast tissue density is determined after examining a mammogram, and approximately 50% of women have dense breast tissue.

Two organizations with information about breast tissue density can be found on the web at http://www.densebreast-info.org/ and http://www.iowabreastdensity.com/ .

Talk with your Virginia Gay Family Medical Clinic healthcare provider about your risk of breast cancer and recommendations on mammography based on your age and health history. Your provider can provide you with an order for the test. Once you have an order, call the imaging department at 319-472-6288 or scheduling at 319-472-6270 for an appointment. 3D mammograms are currently being scheduled for Mondays and Tuesdays, 9 AM to 3 PM, and on Fridays, noon to 3 PM.

To support further advances in treatment and support of women’s health, visit the Gifts of Hope page of the Virginia Gay Hospital Health Care Foundation. For charitable gifts benefiting general hospital programs visit the VGH Foundation’s website.